Global Security Newswire
Daily News on Nuclear, Biological & Chemical Weapons, Terrorism and Related Issues
Cesium Release From Fukushima Plant Compared to 168 Hiroshimas
Japanese government specialists project that the quantity of radioactive cesium 137 emitted to date from the crippled the Fukushima Daiichi atomic power plant equates to 168 times the amount of material released in the 1945 atomic bombing of Hiroshima, Agence France-Presse reported (see GSN, Aug. 24).
Citing the work of nuclear experts, the Tokyo Shimbun reported the quantity of cesium that escaped the Japanese facility following the March 11 earthquake and tsunami was projected to be 15,000 terabecquerels. In comparison, only 89 terabecquerels were emitted by the detonation of the U.S. weapon dropped over over Hiroshima near the end of World War II, according to the newspaper.
The Kan administration provided the cesium projection to Japanese lawmakers.
The government, however, contends it is not appropriate to compare the two nuclear disasters.
"An atomic bomb is designed to enable mass killing and mass destruction by causing blast waves and heat rays and releasing neutron radiation," a government official told the newspaper. "It is not rational to make a simple comparison only based on the amount of isotopes released (Agence France-Presse/Spacewar.com, Aug. 25).
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Providing free and open access to centralized information on nuclear and other radioactive material that has been lost, stolen, or is otherwise out of regulatory control, the Global Incidents and Trafficking Database and Report prepared by the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies (CNS) offers researchers and policymakers a unique resource to assess the nature and scope of nuclear security risks.